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Acidic Foods/Alkaline Foods?

Age related illnesses, Diets | August 22, 2016 | Author: Naturopath

age related

Acidic Foods/Alkaline Foods?

The pH of the human body is extremely important. A pH of 7 is neutral, below 7 is acidic, and above 7 is alkaline. The normal range for human blood pH is between 7.35 and 7.45, which is slightly on the alkaline side.1 This is not a very big range, and when the pH is higher or lower than this, health problems and diseases will occur. Bone weakness, weight problems, fatigue, heart problems, and allergies are just a few problems that can occur if the pH is not in the normal range. The more out of range the pH level is, the worse it gets. If the pH level drops to lower than 6.8 or higher than 7.8, a person is likely to die.

The urine pH in the human body can vary between being acidic and alkaline depending on the need for equalizing the body’s internal environment.

Foods can be classified by their potential renal acid loads (PRALS). 

  • Fruits, vegetables, potatoes, wine, and fruit juices all have a negative acid load, and are alkaline.
  • Meat, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy, and grain products all have a positive and high acid load, and are acidic.

The typical Australian Diet

The typical Australian diet generates a high amount of acid because it is high in foods like meat and dairy products, and low in fruits and vegetables.2 It is also very high in sodium.

This is related to a high dietary acid load, and a low intake of minerals like potassium, magnesium, and calcium.

This can be a risk factor for many different health problems. As people get older, it is harder for the kidneys to excrete daily net acid loads.3 This results in the body using more of its base stores, like bone and skeletal muscle, to alleviate the increasing baseline of metabolic acidosis.

Metabolic acidosis

Metabolic acidosis is when there is an increase of keto acids in the blood, which reduces the body’s capability to neutralize acids. When the body is continuously using its base stores, it results in an increase of calcium in the urine, and loss of the body’s calcium. The consequences of net acid production, and the increase in body fluid acidity that goes along with it, may cause the development of osteoporosis, loss of muscle mass, renal stones, and renal failure related to age. The high intake of sodium, and low intake of potassium, adversely affects cardiovascular function, and can cause hypertension and stroke.

Acidic foods and beverages can also contribute to dental erosion.

One study found that carbonated soft drinks and sports drinks, which are acidic, decreased the surface hardness of dentine, microfilled composite, and enamel.4

Another study done on athletes found that acidic foods and drinks contributed to dental erosion and tooth sensitivity.5

Another study also found that acidic foods and drinks were statistically significant to tooth wear.6

The conclusions of all of these studies agree that acidic food and drinks adversely affects the health of teeth.

Following a diet that is more on the alkaline side is better for overall health.

One study looked at the effects of an alkaline diet on muscle mass.7 As we age, we naturally start to lose muscle mass. This study found that a diet high in potassium, like one that is mostly fruits and vegetables, improved the maintenance of muscle mass in older adults. Another study also found that an alkaline diet that is high in fruits and vegetables, which supplies adequate amounts of potassium and magnesium, is beneficial for the preservation of fat-free muscle mass.8

Fruits and vegetables are the greatest alkaline-forming foods

One study specifically researched the effects of consuming fruits and vegetables to prevent various diseases.9 The researchers found very convincing evidence that a diet of mainly fruits and vegetables reduces the risk of:

  • hypertension
  • coronary heart disease (CHD)
  • stroke, cancer
  • weight gain
  • type 2 diabetes
  • dementia
  • osteoporosis
  • asthma
  • chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • rheumatoid arthritis (RA) 

shutterstock_392097058Another study specifically looked at consuming a diet that is predominantly fruits and vegetables, and how this affects the prevention of cancer and cardiovascular disease.10 The researchers found that the risk of cancer was reduced by 19%, which is about 12,000 cases annually. They also found that cardiovascular deaths were reduced by 16%, which is about 8,000 deaths annually.

Another study researched the effects of drinking an alkaline mineral water, rich in bicarbonate, on subjects who had normal calcium intake. The researchers found that the subjects that drank the alkaline mineral water during the trial had lowered bone resorption.11

Another study researched the effects of taking the supplement Basica, which is an alkaline, multi-mineral supplement.12 This supplement consists of the following alkaline minerals: calcium, magnesium, potassium, zinc, iron, copper, chromium, and selenium. The researchers found that the supplement reduced the symptoms of chronic low back pain in the subjects taking the supplement.

In conclusion, continuing to consume a traditional Australian diet, high in acidic foods, is detrimental to overall health and well-being.

Diet high in fruit and vegetables

Consuming a diet that is predominately fruits and vegetables is the best approach for the prevention of various diseases, and to have the highest quality of health.

Certain dietary supplements have been shown to improve health, but it is important to realize that an individual cannot just take supplements, and not eat an overall healthy diet. To have the best health possible requires a complete lifestyle change, including consuming a diet of mainly fruits and vegetables, consuming mostly whole foods while limiting your intake of processed and refined foods, staying at a healthy weight, getting lots of sunshine, and exercising regularly.

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References
1. Schwalfenberg, Gerry K. The Alkaline Diet: Is There Evidence That an Alkaline pH Diet Benefits Health? J Environ Public Health. Vol. 2012, Article ID 727630, 7 pages, 2012. http://www.hindawi.com/journals/jeph/2012/727630/cta/. Accessed August 13, 2016.
2. Konig Daniel, Muser Klaus, Dickhuth Hand-Hermann, et al. Effect of a supplement rich in alkaline mineral on acid-base balance in humans. Nutr J. 2009;8:23. https://nutritionj.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1475-2891-8-23. Accessed August 14, 2016.
3. Frassetto Lynda A, Morris Curtis R, Sellmeyer Deborah E, et al. Adverse Effects of Sodium Chloride on Bone in the Aging Human Population Resulting from Habitual Consumption of Typical American Diets. J Nutr. 2008;138(2):4195-4225. http://jn.nutrition.org/content/138/2/419S.long. Accessed August 15, 2016.
4. Wongkhantee S, Patanapiradej V, Maneenut C, et al. Effect of acidic food and drinks on surface hardness of enamel, dentine, and tooth-coloured filling materials. J Dent. 2006;34(3):214-220. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0300571205001223. Accessed August 16, 2016.
5. Sirimaharaj V, Messer Brearly L, Morgan MV. Acidic Diet and Dental Erosion Among Athletes. Aust Dent J. 2002;47(3):228-236. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1834-7819.2002.tb00334.x/abstract. Accessed August 16, 2016.
6. Bartlett DW, Fares J, Shirodaria S, et al. The association of tooth wear, diet and dietary habits in adults ages 18-30 years old. J Dent. 2011;39(12):811-816. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0300571211002107. Accessed August 16, 2016.
7. Dawson-Hughes Bess, Harris Susan S, Ceglia Lisa. Alkaline diets favor lean tissue mass in older adults. Am J Clin Nutr. 2008;87(3):662-665. http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/87/3/662.short. Accessed August 17, 2016.
8. Welch AA, MacGrefor AJ, Skinner J, et al. A higher alkaline dietary load is associated with greater indexes of skeletal muscle mass in women. Osteoporos Int. 2013;24(6):1899-1908. http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00198-012-2203-7. Accessed August 18, 2016.
9. Boeing, H., Bechthold, A., Bub, A. et al. Critical review: vegetables and fruit in the prevention of chronic diseases. Eur J Nutr. 2012;51:637. http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00394-012-0380-y. Accessed August 19, 2016.
10. Veer Pieter van’t, Jansen Margie CJF, Klerk Mariska, et al. Fruits and vegetables in the prevention of cancer and cardiovascular disease. Public Health Nutr. 2000;3(1):103-107. http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract?fromPage=online&aid=555840&fileId=s1368980000000136. Accessed August 19, 2016.
11. Wynn Emma, Kreig Mar-Antoine, Aeschlimann Jean-Marc, et al. Alkaline mineral water lowers bone resorption even in calcium sufficiency: Alkaline mineral water and bone metabolism. Bone. 2009;44(1);120-124. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S8756328208007813. Accessed August 21, 2016.
12. Vormann J, Worlitschek M, Goedecke T, et al. Supplementation with alkaline minerals reduces symptoms in patients with chronic low back pain. J Trace Elem Med Biol. 2001;15(2-3):179-83. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11787986. Accessed August 21, 2016.

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